What does “protect" Social Security really mean? Who and what would be protected? And from what threats? TPC’s Gene Steuerle reviews the many different meanings of the word as it is being uttered in the presidential campaign by everyone from Bernie Sanders to Joe Biden to Donald Trump. While each may have a very different definition, Gene concludes that no matter what, ‘“protect’ cannot possibly mean that nobody pays for what everybody gets.”
And who would protect the stock market? The White House may be considering new tax incentives to encourage investment in stocks, and perhaps bonds. There seem to be several different ideas floating around: Invested income, even outside of current retirement accounts, would be tax exempt. Another version: Taxpayers would invest after-tax dollars but any build-up inside the new accounts would be tax free. It remains unclear when or if any of these ideas will appear in President Trump’s long-promised tax cut package.
Metro Portland (OR) debates tax increases. The regional government is considering a one percent surtax on individual incomes over $125,000 and couples’ incomes above $250,000. The Metro Council may decide today whether to put the measure on the May 19 primary ballot. The tax would generate $250 million annually to support regional homelessness services. The Portland Business Alliance—-greater Portland’s Chamber of Commerce—is on board with a tax increase, but not that one. It is proposing a progressive regional payroll tax to raise an equivalent amount. The group argues that “a payroll tax is vastly more resilient in bad economic times.”
Japan’s economy contracts in wake of sales tax increase and the coronavirus. The Wall Street Journal reports (paywall) that the world’s third largest economy contracted at an annual rate of 6.3 percent in the final quarter of 2019. Economists had forecast a 3.9 percent decline. Private consumption fell steeply after the government increased the national sales tax from 8 percent to 10 percent on October 1. The novel coronavirus also slowed tourism and production.
Tune in this morning: Taxes and the Future of Philanthropy. TPC and the American Tax Policy Institute are convening experts to discuss how charitable giving has changed, how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has affected non-profits, how the IRS regulates philanthropies, and what policies would more efficiently and fairly encourage charitable giving. Chronicle of Philanthropy editor Stacy Palmer will deliver the keynote address. The event will be webcast live here starting at 9:30 am.
Not all heroes wear capes. Some drive taxis. California cab driver Rajbir Singh got to talking with his passenger, a 92-year-old woman who told him she needed to get to her bank to withdraw $25,000 to settle an IRS debt. She said somebody had called her and told her she owed the money. Singh tried to convince the woman she was likely being scammed—even repeatedly calling the number the scammer had given her--until the scammer blocked his calls. He ultimately convinced her to go to the local police department, where an officer also explained what was happening. "His quick thinking saved a senior citizen $25,000 and for that, we greatly appreciate his efforts," a police spokesman said.
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